Peter Gransee 
- Inventor (A line of LED flashlights http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_Flashlight, www.arcflashlight.com, one published patent for a, "Regulated open-loop constant-power power supply" http://www.patents.com/us-20050151518.html)
- Sr. Project manager (SMCC Computer building)
- Substitute teacher (SMCC, 200 level computer hardware)
- Entrepreneur (The Gate BBS, Mymoat.com, Ourimages.com, Arc Flashlight LLC, MTD LLC)
- Marketing (my products have appeared on amazon.com, thinkgeek.com, over a half dozen magazines, multiple television spots, the credits of the movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and I have been a guest on several radio programs)
- LED lighting consultant for several companies including Leatherman Tool Group and CIS
- Over 20 years experience in Cognitive Computing. Written multiple NLP, etc programs in PERL.
- worked for 3+ years in healthcare IT at GRHC. loved it.
 
Currently (2016), I am working full time on a Startup. 

I serve at my church as the secretary treasurer and also help with the youth program each week. I also teach Java to my niece and nephew each week (they have been at it now for over 6 months. way to go guys!)
 
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(newest post at the bottom)

Some possible future topics for the website (if the text gets big enough here, they get their own page basically):

- My ebay auctions.

- The so called, "hydrogen economy" is a crock. Boondoggle. In the simple sense, hydrogen is not a source of energy but merely a means to store it. The question then is: is this the best means of storing energy? I say no. More to come on this subject...

- Ethanol. I watched a booktv program on Robert Zubrin's Energy Victory where he makes several good points about how we need to get off of oil. I agree with him on those points. However, his solution is flex-fuel vehicles and alcohol fuels (methanol/ethanol). I am not yet convinced that it is practical to replace more than 10% of the US demand for oil with ethanol produced from even the best sources (switch grass, waste biomass, etc). Currently in the US, less than 5% of oil imports have been replaced with corn ethanol and that takes 40% of corn production. The price of corn meal in some poorer countries has doubled as a result and it also affects other crops as well. There is also the enviromental effects on water suppliers (run-off), use of chemicals to increase yields, etc. Although I agree that we need to get off of oil now, I just don't see how we could replace more than 10% of our consumption with even the best forms of ethanol industry. A partial replacement of oil imports is the same as conservation and he argued against that for good reasons. As long as a significant part of our liquid fuel is imported, we still are largely affected by the price and availability of that imported component. I don't think this would significantly affect the price of oil nor significantly reduce funding to petrol-tyrannies. I agree that plug-in hybrids (not the same as electric-only vehicles) are very expensive right now but I still feel that they are, on a large scale, more affordable in the long run compared to ethanol, hydrogen, bio-diesal, natural gas and any other offering I have seen.

- Bio-diesal helps but it is not a large scale solution.

- Photovoltaic Solar is predicted to significantly come down in price in just a few years. This is due to the end of the world-wide silicon shortage (silicon is one of the most plentiful materials on the earth, the shortage has been in refined product. However, several new plants have come on line and the supply could increase by more than 10 times in less than 5 years: Technology Review Article). I am especially interested in roof-top solar. In some areas, solar may be similiar to the local price of electricity. This is a watershed event that may cause a dramatic increase in the number of roof units installed. Of special interest to me is the idea of using rooftop solar to replace some of the gasoline I purchase by coupling it with a plug-in (PHEV) hybrid car. Replacing gasoline with time-shifted solar (no battery) pays down the costs of the panels at a faster rate than simply using them for traditional home electrical usage. This will drive the market towards larger arrays and higher volumes. I project that in some markets and in less than 5 years, the ROI on a plug-in hybrid/solar (PHEV/Solar) combination will be positive (making money for its owner after all costs are accounted for). This is a radical change from how solar and electric drive have been view for the past 50 years. It is possible, without the need for more government mandates, to signficantly exceed the amount of oil being saved by government-forced programs like ethanol that cost you and I tens of billions in subsidies each year.

- Idea for an electric vehicle or hybrid automatic plug in system. Just park and go. No need to remember to plug in. Automatic PHEV plug in system.

- So I like electric drive (PHEV, BEV). At this stage in the game what are some good batteries technologies? I am watching eestore, A123, altairnano, etc. But Firefly looks especially interesting since it has a good management pedigree and a low cost per watt. Not the hottest battery as far as energy density but I recognize for electric vehicles to make a real impact, the costs per watt have to come down. As long as energy densitiy is reasonable, cost per watt is key to wide scale adoption. In my opinion, the next logical step for mainstream effect is a compact sized 30mi PHEV with a battery pack that costs less than $5k. The high performance batteries will come down in price eventually and they will be helped by the fact that lower cost systems built up the demand first.

The battery pack for the volt is projected to cost about $16k and provide 16kwhr of energy which results in 40mi of electric-only range. The selling price of the Volt will likely be about $40k. Like I said, Lithium is nice and I would prefer that for my own car, but a heavier PHEV with a $2-3k battery pack providing a 20-30mi range would probably appeal more to the mass market.

- There is a lot more we can do to conserve resources and reduce the amount of energy it takes to do common things. However, we also need to be prepared to produce more energy. As civilization grows, we should expect our energy use per capita to slowly rise. not because we are being more wasteful but because we are doing more. Look at the trends in energy use per capita over the past 1000 years and it's connection to other trends. In the future, we may routinely visit other worlds, etc; this is going to use a lot of energy per capita. Generally, I think this is a good thing and we need to find more efficient ways of generating mass power. the alternative is to reduce our ambition and stay home or as some people seem to being saying, "I'll keep my suv but you can't have one". I also don't suscribe to this idea that mankind is a plague on the planet. We should grow and expand while being good stewards of this precious world. There are thousands of species dieing off and each one contains a precious diversity whose loss effects the rest of the system. Wasted complexity. I see a future where most of our household energy is from roof top solar supplimented with nuclear baseline production, auto-drive electric vehicles, healthy high-density cities with fiscally prudent mass transit (most are currently not fiscally prudent), large scale telecommuting, air cars, commercial space travel, more local produce and manufacturing, free market health care, reduced tort, competitive education, carefull use of GM food (maintain diversity), etc

- Mining the moon/etc for helium3 (used in fusion reactors) and fusion in general looks interesting and could eventually provide the bulk of our energy needs but it is going to take a long time to develop. For now, improved fission is a good incremental step.

- A specific example of a (usually good) trend towards more consumption (as a result of of more automation) could be the increase in computing power per capita. I estimate it will not be long before the average person in the US is using more power for computing then they are for climate control. This computer power is a mix of cloud and local resources. Here in Arizona, A/C makes up one of the largest per capita electrical usages, I can see that eventually being exclipsed by the home (or cloud) computer. We already have home computers with 1500 watt power supplies for entertainment. As we expand automation, such energy demands won't just be for entertainment applications. Yes, computers will continue to get more efficient, but the overall trend is for more power consumption. If the automation improves our quality of life, and it can if used responsibly, then the increase in consumption is a reasonable trend.

- Even though we will continue to trend towards doing more, we need to look at our quality of life. Not everything new makes our life better.  See my note below.

- what are some examples of increased automation that improves our quality of life? Simply automating a tasks devalues it. But if we can increase the overall efficiency and combine it with virtue, we can apply it to justice, helping the poor, expanding science and art, etc.

For a given system, as we improve it efficiency, the complexity and resources required to wring out more efficiency also increase. In closely or poorly matched pairs, the energy saved is a net zero or loss when compared to the resources it took to achieve that efficiency. Fortunately, there are many "force multiplier" pairs naturally occuring where it is advantageous to increase the target effciency using most means.

- I am for smaller government. There are some things that only the government should or can do, but not much and certainly not as much as they are doing now. Free market forces are not perfect, but they are preferable. Government should incentivize not just walk in an do it all. x prizes. deregulation. Market driven education and health care. Look at the positive effect market forces have had with laser eye surgery. Should the government do anything about the oil company's high profits? And if so, what? Free market forces with government incentives, not more stifling regulation and pork.

- I support the free tax, which is a tax on consumption not productivity. Eventually, I would also like to see less tax. This is a very difficult problem to solve of course. Why is it the only option that governments expand over time?

- People have too much junk. I am for seeing further and doing more but some of this stuff we have is just about impressing other people or because of some unhealthy fear. When you can't park in your garage because it is full of stuff you rarely use, then you may have a problem. Buy right, buy once. If you don't use it at least once a week (or month, depending on the item), then you probably don't need it. Sometimes it is better to borrow stuff than to own.  Meet your neighbors. Don't watch the local news. The downside to neighborhoods designed around the car.

- Genetically modified crops. By selecting variations, output and nutrition has been improved but I believe caution is prudent. Diversity is important to stave off the attack of pests and other types of insult. Same is true for GM humans. Competition will drive the selection of positive traits in humans. However, diversity will be reduced in the process, which makes the population potentially more vulnerable to pandemic.
 
Just as mutation can improve the efficiency of a particular virus, the reality is that mutation has caused it to loose complexity (versus information) and therefore a loss of future adability. I write about this on my evolution page.
 
Besides modifying the genetic structure, more hardy expressions of the natural base have been selected. However these expressions have thicker more fiberous structure with less volatile ingredients. This is why we have roses that last longer but smell less or tomatoes that last longer but have a thick fiberous interior and bland flavor. Storage and transport has improved but flavor and nutrition are sacrificed. Hopefully with the resurgence of local production, market forces will drive more flavorful varieties.

- Computer immune systems and why the future is going to just be more hard work. Information entrophy. The role of cognitive computing in network security.

- Linux -Mac - Windows. The effect of mainstream market forces on the complexity of a system. With rising adoption there is an increased demand for adaptability which increases complexity. As complexity rises, the number of errors per package generally increases. Also, permutations between functions increase which tend to also magnify error rates. There is the temptation to make Apple (etc) computers more adaptable to satisfy more people. However, this increased complexity will increase the error rate (assuming a competitive flaw per 1k lines of code (KLOC) rate). Niche market systems thrive because they are closed and proprietary. This reduces complexity which decreases user overhead for a smaller set of tasks. As I mentioned elsewhere, there is a significant market for home computers that are constrained in their number of applications and hardware. Within this tight focus, it is possible to reduce overhead (virus management, tech support, speed of completing a task, etc). However, if this model is to be maintained, Apple should avoid market share over say 20-30%. Otherwise those same users who are looking for a focused system will migrate to other niche Operating Systems.

- Free will. a gun manufacturer is responsible if they produce a device that has, "significant illegal uses" while our Creator has made us responsible for sin and yet He is not culpible. How can a construct gain a capability that is didn't have when it was made? How can a universe provide this capability to a being when the universe didn't have it at the point of creation either? Spontanous information creation by creation? Is free will another way of saying we are actually little creators (exclusively of junk) ourselves? Nature vs nurture. Determinisitic genes. etc. Before when we were dead to C and we were deterministic brutes and now we are Alive and Free and work out our S with fear and trembling. Free will exists, but not as some may think. A house divided?

- Homosexuality. Why is this such a hot button compared to other issues of similiar importance in the grand scheme? Are we born a clean slate (a la Dr. Spock) or are we predisposed to certain behaviors? Just some or all of our behaviors are pre-determined? Either way, why we are judged for something we didn't go shopping for? The story about Joseph's brothers being tested with a stolen cup in their luggage. "Through one man (Adam), S entered the world..."

- Is ET out there? UFOs? No matter how secret an organization, exterestial memes will transit the safeguards and show up in the general market. I haven't seen such memes and for other reasons doubt exterestial origins of the phenomena.

- What about the Bible and the subject of slavery? Are we on the same page with the Bible and what it considers important? The useless piety of the mockers. pharasees concerned with the outside but it is what is in the inside of the cup that makes us truly free. cannot serve two masters. Modern miracles and the dirth of amputees being represented? Answer a fool or not?

- The growing religious prejudice among some people groups. Why saying you are a Christian immediately prejudices any scientific contribution you may provide.  At the same time, people who are supposedly putting their faith in reason are more vulnerable to faith (less practiced in an essential skill, more succeptable to suggestion) and therefore the rise of all kinds of cults, junk science, superstitions, susceptibility to advertising, lotteries and a general increase in junk religiosity overtime which is ironic. the return of the way it was in Roman times. The irony of denying our need for faith is the loss of reason.

- where do we draw the line between scientific theories and philosphical beliefs? both are ideas on how things work and neither is 100% proven. do we settle on a percentage of proof as the dividing line? do we keep the bath water because there is a cute baby in it? what is the difference between adaptation within "kinds" and spontaneous generation of complexity? Speaking of the Genesis "kinds", what could it be and why it may be better than "species". Can a simple system really increase in complexity on its own? Cosmic shell game. How AI is providing a sandbox to test these ideas.

- explaining the difference between the proven elements of what is sometimes called "evolution" and the extrapolated theories. How at the end of the day both sides are really advocating spontaneous creation of complexity and what the real difference is.

- I do feel that my views about God have helped in my practice of science. Thinking of God practices the mind on faith and absolutes, which also comes in handy when working with large systems. Big view, small view. What is greater: what we learn or our ability to learn? "good artists create, great artists copy". It is more liberating as an artist to interpret a scene before you than to attempt to create an entirely original work. There is more creative work that can be done by building upon a framework than branching out into nothing. This may be counter intuitive but that just makes it rare. When visuallizing very large systems, it can be helpful to generalize. Divide and conquer works better when you know how the pieces fit together - which requires an overall picture.

- The trend, started in mobile phones, towards operating systems with 'app stores' and having everything in the 'cloud' will be generally welcome by the public but could produce a chilling effect on open computing. When you may only use software on your computing device that has been approved by a central authority there are pros and cons.
 
The abundance of malware may be one of the best indicators of how truly open and free a system is. Be it the press, government or our computers.
 
The percentage of malware in a system may be an effective scoring system when combined with such factors as uptake, population, etc. Too little malware may indicate authoritarian forces or otherwise missing the will of the people while too much malware may also indicate authoritarian forces (by criminal elements). The 'goldelocks' level of malware for a popular system is a balance between various forces both central and decentralized. A popular system attracts malware and less mainstream ideas but it also has enough popular support to limit the malware (through community organized cleaning efforts). Similiar to other ecosystems such as the cleanlyness of a city, biodiversity among plants and animals, etc.
 
Some people forget history and just want to buy a phone or computer, "that works". "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Ben Franklin.
 
Remember the 'Arab Spring' of 2011, where a current of freedom rushed through the Arab world, was due in part to people's ability to use their computers and phones to communicate ideas that the governments did not agree with.
 
Which OS will 'win' in the mobile phone market? Look at WWII, etc: closed systems will win the 'sprint' but opens system will win the 'marathon'.
 
- Could entangled photons be used to deliver low cost, global, low latency internet via satellite? Information is communicated in a straight line between the destroyed and detected photon pair and not the path they took. This would significantly reduce latency and allow fewer satellites to be used, reducing costs. However, laser comms through the atmosphere does have it challenges. 
 
4/24/12 no, entangled photons cannot be used to transmit information. but they can be used to safeguard a transmission from eavesdropping.
 
- The fragility of tablet screens. The uptake of tablets in the health care industry is higher than the general public. At the hospital where I work in IT, we are rolling out a bunch of Ipad2 and a smaller number of androids. The screens are too fragile in my opinion for something that is supposed to be a mobile device. We have already broken about 30% of our screens.
 
- Terrestial digital radio. What needs to happen to make it take off? Game changers such as stations sharing multiple transmitting towers to shape their coverage area and increase efficiency. Method of transmitting audio that utilizes local storage for popular songs in each playback device to improve drop out resistance and improve bit rate above the actual channel rate.
 
- ICD10, the new medical coding system coming in 2013 for the US. Found a funny article while researching for a new company idea: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904103404576560742746021106.html
 
- The implications of the Wave Disk Motor http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2011-03/shockwave-generating-wave-discs-could-replace-cars-internal-combustion-engines for reducing weight to make hybrids much more compelling. Imagine a light weight hybrid sedan using a 40hp wave motor generator, 0-60mph in ~9sec controller/electric motors and 15mi battery pack. Low costs methods of reducing weight is the force multiplier for reducing overall system cost for a given performance.
 
- Software update for engine driven A/C on a hybrid. When the 'eco' and A/C buttons are active, run the compressor when the gas pedal is released and turn off when the gas pedal is depressed - within pressure and temperature limits. Basically enlists A/C compressor to help recover braking energy, thereby further improving efficiency and reducing component wear. Combining this system with increased storage capacity on the high pressure side of the A/C system may further improve the overall net gain.
 
- The preeminence of the heart over the mind. iceberg diagram of the brain showing the majority the 'heart' has over the mind. A new perspective to add to our understanding of the consciousness. They say that most thoughts occur within a depth of ~100 neurons (based on response time) to complete. The majority of those connections occur below the conscious level. The advantages for creativity and self realization to become more aware of these levels and practical methods to achieve it. Why God keeps asking for our heart while we keep trying to give him our mind. How to study this without getting lost in the mind. :)
 
-Now that I am single again, I am looking at the dating market. Like other markets it has interesting trends, problems and opportunities.
 
For the niche dating markets (such as Christian), women outnumber men and make up as much as 80-90% of the population for those markets. This is phenomenal. But bad for the ladies who stick to their principles.
 
Another interesting observation is that a large percentage of those women in the niches are intimacy adverse. This is a fairly complex system. I suspect that what is driving a lot of this is the trend for men to leave these niches and traffic the mainstream markets. This creates a shortage for women who are not yet ready to leave those niches (to their credit). But out of desperation, they do make forays into the main market but then leave out of disgust and retreat to the niches. This produces bitterness and "dating fatigue".
 
And even if they stay in the niche market, they might bring mass market values into their profile, which is annoying. I get tired of sorting through endless profiles sent to me that claim to be Christian but are ok with abortion in cases of an accident, sex before marriage, etc.  Same result as them moving to the mass market since it attracts the same kind of man.
 
In the past I have railed against these generations of men whom I call the "x-box generations" because of their lack of ambition but I suspect is more of a feeling of being disenfranchised by the moral majority. For example, less single men are going to church. I do not know... It is a complex system. Regardless of the drama my gut tells me that 80-90 population mismatch is not natural, not sustainable and will likely produce unpleasant results.
 
Add to this the trend towards greater empowerment of women, which is a good thing and long overdue but is going to create cascading changes. The 2010 census indicates that their are more women college graduates now than men under the age of 30. This is a very interesting trend. I suspect it is due to affirmative action on the part of previous moral majorities. It will likely change the family dynamic. 
 
Other trends are the feminization of the class room, the decrease in the cost of sex (which is ironic how this trends opposite female empowerment), media bias against female perpetrators, etc. All while women wonder where all the good guys have gone.
 
My heart goes out to both sexes during this change. Like I said earlier, empowerment is long overdue but as each disenfranchised group has been empowered (Blacks, Natives, the Poor, etc), there is usually some overshoot such as the problems with affirmative action. A lot of my current views on this btw are informed by having read several of Michelle Langley’s books. I think she is spot on with many of her observations.  
 
So I am concerned about how this empowerment will affect the sexes and change the family dynamic, which is a culture’s foundation.
 
Back to what I said about the niche market women being intimacy adverse. OKtrends, which compiles some interesting data on the dating market has found that men do better if they are disengaged in their personal ad while women are the reverse of that. For example, in photos, men get more messages if they are looking away, not smiling, etc. This indicates a less intense relationship style is favored by women.
 
I would like to see data that indicates the relationship between niche markets and male intensity. This could be correlated to which niches of women report higher empowerment. Interesting stuff..
 
Would also like to see the percentage of gender that stick to the ideal of the niche market in their presentation. For example, if a guy claims he is a Christian, do the other details of his profile agree? Maybe oktrends is being nice by not showing the number of people who claim to be Christian and have also checked the box approving of sex before marriage. This might indicate that although men don't flock to the niche markets, when they do, they stick to the ideal. The reverse for women could have some interesting implications when compared to other trends such as empowerment. Michelle Langley talks about society's pressure on women to follow the "good girl" image while they are also being told they are empowered and then left to deal with their flesh on their own. Kind of reminds me of the overused (and abused) statement about women not knowing what they want. Could be they don't because society tells them conflicting messages about who they are. And their unique identity and value is lost in the war of ideology.
 
 
At any rate, I realize this is a delicate topic and my fascination with the trends may be misunderstood as having a cavalier attitude about the people’s lives being affected by these changes.
 
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4/25/12
 

Asymmetry of Mystery

 

Was helping a customer at work today with the new Cisco video conferencing system. She commented how her perspective on the use of the system changed. For her it seemed complicated at first but was simple once I explained it. I thought to myself what a common meme that is.

 

Take AI for example. People have been working on it for 50 years and we may work on it another 50 years before it is well understood. A difficult problem which probably has a whole slew of simple solutions.

 

Magic tricks are another example. When you don't know how the trick is done, it can appear quite... Mysterious. But once explained we may feel a bit foolish for feeling like it was so complicated.

 

The more I thought about this I realized that so many problems we are trying to solve in science, politics, etc probably have (relatively) simple solutions but it is apparently very difficult to find those solutions. This is the asymmetry.

 

Often there appears to be more complexity required in the search for the solution than in the solution itself. Since there is a limit to our own complexity, we are doomed (ironically) to finding more complicated/expensive solutions than what is necessary.

 

Seen as a hierarchy, the simple solutions have the least number of components and therefore occupy the small base of the solution tree. As you add more components to each layer, there are more solutions to pick from, stretching into infinity (I imagine using a nuke to unlock a lock as an example of a needlessly complex solution). Therefore, since we are usually limited by time and budget on how much of the solution set you can survey, the odds (sans genius) favor a complicated solution being found over a simple one. This is one factor explaining why a complicated solution is often found first but I suspect there are other factors that bias towards complicated solutions as well (for example, how we visualize the problem, our preference towards right angles, etc).

 

It was Einstein who said, "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

 
 
 
Maybe a blog would be a better format for this.. Or maybe this whole writing thing will pass. Hah.
 
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5/27/12
 
Been reading Kevin Kelly's "The Technium" for years now. I aspire to one day maybe write as well as he does.
 
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Thinking about the differences between being miserly, frugal and a minimalist. I decided I am a bit of a minimalist. I think this sometimes annoys people in my life.

 

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It is the dream of every boy to be a hero (John Eldridge's "Wild at Heart"). I think for most men this follows them into their adult life but it is changed, updated. And there are variations among men of course. An engineer may dream of some day being Captain Kirk for example.

 

There is this balance between wanting to be the wild hero and maturing/becoming more realistic. Tamed. Domesticated. However, totally giving up on the idea of being a hero can be lethal to a man's potency. 

 

People in general are not good judges of their competency (the Dunning_kruger effect seems to imply a subset of the general population is particularly afflicted). It is common to think we will beat the odds, we drive better than most people, the lottery favors us, God fits in this box, macro evolution works, etc. This is just a problem of comprehending large systems.
 
Sometimes we think being a hero is to be exceptional but because the odds don't favor everyone being exceptional, this may lead to some disappointment for most. Now, there is something to be said for the "everyday hero" but I would like to focus on the dreams that involve being the exception.
 
Finding a sword in a stone aside, most hero dreams involve hitting the big time in business, developing fantastic products, being a mad scientist, evil super genius, etc.
 
Part of the problem is a lack of understanding at how much more complicated development gets when you move out of the ordinary. Man hours of labor rises sharply beyond the service industries for work produced.
 
We can fix a car for 5hr of labor but have a hard time understanding that a new gene therapy may involve 70,000hr of labor.
 
The level of normal is mostly determined by our tools and materials. When a new tool or material comes out, new applications are eventually obvious to those skilled in the trade.
 
So maybe one way to beat the odds is to be the first to develop or capitalize on a new tool or material.
 
Personally, I want to build a better tool.
 
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6/25/14

To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, All contracts seek a fair conclusion so it is efficient to start out that way.

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Boredom may be an indicator of poor impulse control. Low EQ (Emotional Quotient). Or you could simply be a prisoner whose goals are being thwarted. :)

A person who simply moves from impulse to impulse may be unsettled when the supply of impulses momentarily and inexplicably stop. This may explain why people text and drive even though they understand the risks.

The alternative to poor impulse control is self discovery and goals that last longer than most impulses. Delayed gratification. 

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freedom -> responsibility -> more freedom


Cherish anticipation for anticipation rids us of waste. An example would be a hybrid that uses GPS to optimize range. 

And you receive the positives of anticipation even when proof is delayed. Yep... Faith!

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As I have said before, energy/information does not like to cross boundaries. At those crossing points are key technologies and concepts that make our modern world work. The microchip was so transformative because it channeled a large percentage of objects to a point where they could cross more efficiently.

A person who lacks actualization will be like a beam of intense energy splashing against a brick wall. There are optimums to be found if we have the courage to look. A 'victim' is a person who refuses to plan for their future. When our energy is wasted against a brick wall, anger and depression are the vultures circling overhead. 

I really like the definition of intelligence as, "a system of choice that optimizes future choice".

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All of music can be summarized in two words: "resonance and dissonance" (profound words by Brandon Carr)
 
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One of the unfortunate trends with rise of mobile "apps" is to further fragment information. Tasks that use to run efficiently on a web page are moved to a bloated app where the provider can more firmly lock the user in. This (and a similar thing happening to OSs) creates walled gardens.

In the future, our children will marvel at how we managed information. This limited idea of a specific icon or page that only worked with Knowledge in a narrow way. In the future, we will interact with personalities and not these wind blown fragments.

-

Oddly, the "cutting edge" is best penetrated by sharp objects. This may be why the F-35, the flying multi-tool, is bloated. As one of the designers of the F-16 (beautiful jet btw) implies, the F-35 technology should be more focused into multiple aircraft instead of the few F-35 variants planned. Each optimized for a smaller set of missions. Stealth is cool, but it costs and most missions should not require it. etc.

I am all for "force multiplication". I really like it and try to exploit it whenever possible. But with every upside there is a equally wicked downside. particularly when you are pushing the edge of the envelope. We see this in the stock market. 

With the F-16, "fly by wire" increased the envelope by better coupling with volatility. In this case the cost was minor but not all increases in adaptability are so cost effective.

Common parts are the mantra of the industrial revolution but this works better in mass markets with many choices and not so much where you hope to dominate. 

Same is true for the chances Google's Project Ara will be a cutting edge phone. This level of modularity is more likely to work at the low to mid-end of the market in my opinion. And we would be further fortunate for that since we can continue to leverage the region of discounts around the mobile phone phenomena for other applications.

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8/19/14

Minimalism is moving forward instead of in circles. 

It is not a limit by some quantity metric. It is prioritizing among many good things to maximize the connection with who we were created to be.

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7/10/15

A theory I have had for awhile waiting for a formal study is that you can tell who broke up with who in a relationship by a single factor: are they still friends? If they are, the guy broke up with the girl. If they are not, the girl broke up with the guy. 

My informal observation has shown decent correlation for this theory for over a decade now. 

A possible causation is that men somehow feel more than women that the basic currency of the relationship is broken when the relationships goes from something more intense to "just friends" or "exes". 

Since most divorces (60-80% depending on the country) are filed by women, this seems to explain why some exes have trouble getting along.

All very interesting I am sure but the thing that I am particularly concerned about is the effect on the kids for those failed marriages with children.

Psychology and the courts are trying to get a handle on this. One debatable attempt is PAS. It seeks to understand and codify a syndrome where the most offended parent uses the children as pawns in a protracted war of attrition instead of modeling forgiveness and acceptance.

The Milgram Experiment illustrated how a majority of the population would harm each other if a person in authority said it was ok. In some custody situations there is a lack of forgiveness or established victim thinking, etc by a person with sufficient authority which can lead to children who try to harm the target parent without empathy because they feel they have the approval of the unforgiving parent.

Such children may grow up to be more vulnerable to corrupt power structures as adults. They also may be more likely to fail in a wide variety of relationships as adults because they don't understand negotiation and feel victim paralysis is a viable means of control.

The lack of empathy while harming others is even more troubling however. They may even grow to like harming other people and seek to find some sort of corrupt justification (they were "forced by others") so they may continue to abuse others. 

Incidentally the trouble with empathy and victim paralysis feed back on the loop by creating a sense of hopelessness when it comes to negotiations. This failure in negotiations then further feeds the victim narrative. A profound sense that their life would be better "if only other people would...". An effort to control what cannot be controlled by (ironically) giving up control.

From my observations, such children often realize as adults how they were used by the unforgiving parent and this can create deep seated resentment for the remainder of their adult lives. A feeling of bewilderment that the parent who they thought was their ally was actually using them as a mere weapon.

A weapon fashioned out bits of flesh and powered by souls and tears.



I have been working on a model for awhile that says that victim paralysis is based on an obsession with control. I use the term obsession because it is an attempt to gain inordinate control. But as the monks say, "control outside of ourself is an illusion" (sometimes misquoted as "all control is an illusion" but if we didn't need self control why would the teachers bother?). 

A person with a control obsession is usually that way because they don't get what they want and they don't want what they get. So they feel the solution is more control instead of virtues like empathy (to make negotiations more effective), acceptance, forgiveness, etc. 

When control gains this kind of focus, negotiations suffer of course and this can lead to an even greater desire to get in control. So much desire in fact that other things are sacrificed on the bonfire like personal responsibility, morals, etc.

In a way, they have made their higher power other people. For the purposes of mischief, it is convenient perhaps to have an inept god.



Another side project for awhile is coming up with a logical definition of love and like. Still needs some work but what I have right now is that "like" is kindness shown to people who are significantly similar to ourselves. "Love" is kindness shown to people who are not sufficiently similar to ourselves for "like" to carry all the weight. Love is sacrificial. Like is enterprising.

One of the reasons love is so important is that kindness is based on what we currently think we know. Too often kindness was withheld yesterday from people we found that we liked today.

And sometimes a lifetime is not long enough for us to learn enough about a person to finally be able to like them. 

One of the problems with social media is that it makes it much easier to filter our relationships by what we like. A potential downside is that we may no longer believe enough to practice a love that sacrifices for others. A loss of diversity ironically in an environment that claims to champion diversity. But actually they only fight for equality of the elite. But that is like. not love.

Love protects dissent. 

--

7/20/15

A child asked me recently, "why is worship music so boring?" I have asked myself that sometimes! The short answer is that worship music is not supposed to be a cure for boredom. 

If you are looking to be entertained, why torture yourself? Use the right tool for the job. You could do a lot better than music that was designed for worship. I told them, if you don't like it, just ignore it. read a book quietly in your seat. take a nap. I used to sleep in church as a kid. Eventually I woke up. 

Some people think that worship music should be entertainment. This has even been the reason for people breaking faith with the body. You want a concert, go to a concert. Save your time at least. 

I feel that worship teams should take reasonable efforts to not distract most people and to actually help most people get to a more meditative state. 

Why does worship music repeat? It is like a chant. Why do we use chants? For many people, this can help achieve a meditative state. 

Or some people say, "what about seekers visiting our church?" We don't want to scare them away. Well if they truly are seekers, they have searched the world and have had their fill of entertainment and empty promises (form that promises function but really just takes from us) and now they are looking to truly feed their spirit. That is a true seeker. Why not meet this person with truth instead of more entertainment? Are we hoping to fool a person looking for entertainment into caring for their soul?

Maybe? When Jesus offered the woman at the well living water, maybe she initially thought he was offering some sort of labor saving device. Maybe that is what the first song in a set does. but maybe something gets lost in the transition later to meditative songs. Instead of talking about her soul she would have been upset that the labor saving water was an illusion. I thought I was going to be entertained!

Speaking of achieving Nirvana? Reminds me of the lyrics "here we are now, entertain us!"

We all have the same basic needs but are on different paths to fill them. if you are depressed then you might be frustrated. and if you are frustrated then maybe your goals are being thwarted by your current path? Don't give up. You can be completely satisfied. 

--
7/21/15

Making a big pot of stew for tonight. Also made some cornbread. House smells good! 
 
Was explaining again this morning to a nearby child (who didn't want to eat the vegetables in the stew) about my idea that an appetite for vegetables has to be cultivated since from birth we don't necessarily have what we need in our flora to best digest them. In effect, we build up a tolerance to them and then we crave them. Having a wide tolerance allows us to enjoy a wide variety of flavors and to be compatible with more food sources.
 
Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis  wrote in "the great divorce" about how heaven is "too real" for visitors from hell. The blades of grass feel sharp. Etc.
 
As children, we get much of our flora from the adults in our life. Not just for digesting complex food but for digesting complex ideas.

Just as there are so many plants that do all kinds of amazing things to bless our body, some of the worse things we can ingest are found in the plant world. Plants are an analogy for ideas. The song of Creation obscured by the curse.

Energy and complexity need help to cross boundaries. Our intestinal flora and character help us to interface with various forms. 

God help us to interface with more of you. To "taste and see that the Lord is good" (psalm 34).


The other day we were driving home from church and one of the dear children finished their book and then declared loudly, "I'm bored!" In the past, I have mentioned to them that "your minds are some of the most interesting things on the planet", "boredom is a message from your brain that you now have an opportunity to see something new", etc. This time I decided to wait and see what would develop.

Finally after repeating themselves multiple times ("entertainer" is part of our job I suppose), my Wife brought up some of the interesting sites in the surrounding countryside which seemed to then satisfy them. After this I finally spoke and joked with her that she was like a momma bird that made a tasty morsel more digestible for her hungry child by pre-chewing and pre-digesting it for them.

As the great electrical engineer Charles Steinmetz wished for his students, “the spirit of divine discontent, for without it the world would stand still.” To discover new things we need to be thirsty. "Necessity is the mother of invention." "how can you add anything to a cup that is already full?" Boredom indicates we still have hunger. And at that moment we have a precious opportunity to channel that hunger into something new. If we mask it over with a loud noise or a strong flavor, we miss out on Creation.

I actually don't get many opportunities to talk philosophy with the kids. Praying about and modeling a behavior is more effective than preaching it. I feel in order for them to really engage with it they have to go looking for it. Now as adults, we do create situations that promote discussion and sometimes that works.



I like video games (I used to work in the industry) but it's just another tool in the toolbox. One of the problems with video games is the loss of resolution compared to other activities. Video games take things from the real world and depict it at a lower resolution. Not just visually but morally, etc. The laws of physics, why we labor, etc. This makes it easier to digest and therefore more exciting. A lot of children's books do the same thing- another tool in the toolbox.

Studies have shown that people actually prefer the sound of 'lossy' compression like that used in mp3s. Less work for our brains.

In other venues I have talked in more length about the loss of subtlety. The modern palate trends towards the stronger flavors instead of the millions of other permutations possible. 

When our technology makes it easier for us to filter out the subtle and less interesting flavors we end up needing more and more of cruder and simpler variety to move the needle. This makes us more and more similar to the products of the industrial revolution. The loss of the craftsman.

--
7/29/15

Some of my posts above were from almost 10 years ago.

It is good to see that rooftop solar is doing so well from my initial post above.

I suspect a large part of this success it to due to the German government's incentives. For awhile, I understand they were consuming most of the production capacity. This is an example of how a government can help capitalism. Now costs for solar have dropped significantly (less than half - from what I understand), reliability has gone up and supply is strong.

I would imagine that rooftop solar will continue to accelerate in demand. I can see in the future a growing percentage of homes that are "off the grid". Solar on the roof. Battery pack in the closet. partial ownership in a self driving electric vehicle at the curb. 

Self driving cars are going to take a long time to reach critical growth. Mostly because we need to be able to guarantee that freedom will increase and not decrease. But people not driving will be cheaper and eventually as more and more people stop driving, it will change the way we build cities and our houses. And these vehicles will do more than deliver people. 

When I do sell my car (love my hybrid) and start using some sort of self-driving car coop or service I would like it if I could buy my own passenger pod. 

Hope this idea catches on: The pod would be attached to the side of the house closest to the curb. I would tell the house I want to go to x and it would give me a eta. a few minutes before the car arrives I would walk over to the pod and get comfortable. The car would then come by and smoothly/quickly connect to the pod and off we go, depositing me at the next building were I have business. My pod would be decorated the way we like it. smell the way we like it. etc. Of course, it would be cheaper to rent a pod but unless the number of people you share it with is small (think coop) it would probably smell like a taxi.

Self driving cars would be bigger, more expensive and have a lot more miles on them. Actual cost per mile and safety compared to other forms would be very compelling. They could carry multiple pods and exchange pods with other cars mid-trip (I went into a lot of detail with the route planning software in my main document on this). They would cost less per mile than regular cars and would be comfortable, safe, quiet. They would stop at either businesses or private residences during their off time for a few kWh here and there. They would be like the little animals that are under foot around a busy place.

In some cases, the pod would actually be a compact office. You might start out working while it is at home but then later in the day you would exit for a meeting with some people you work with and then finish up back home.

Some neighborhoods would have a single lane with a single sidewalk along side between houses instead of the big/dangerous asphalt and concrete slabs we now have as city streets. Or there would be less lanes than there were originally streets and I would walk a little bit to the nearest street. 

Homes would not need a garage. Instead we might see the rise of the "multipurpose family room", etc

As our population gets older on average, self driving cars will restore independence normally lost with driving.

For better or worse, we are an increasing mobile society so whatever the future technology we have, it has to be even more mobile than what we have. I would like some of the stuff I used to drive for to just show up at my house. Trips I have to make to be faster and safer with more options (car, hyper loop, urban friendly orbiter in the back yard, etc).

If a lane did not go by my house then my pod would be at a nearby magazine a short walk away. The system is scale-able across different income levels, housing densities, etc.

These cars would also carry packages which they could automatically drop off using a standard mini-pod/connector on the side of the house (better than leaving it outside). They could even move liquids and electric power. They could also make Mesh networks more practical.  It may be possible to have a house without any connections except a narrow lane outside.

Pods would connect to transporter systems like cars, trains, aircraft, drones, etc. A single trip could start out from your house and include a short drone (VTOL) trip, hyper loop and surface streets. 

They would come in standard sizes: small package, large package, 2-person, 4 person, family fun van, limo, etc. all the way up to standard shipping crate dimensions. A car, for example, could carry 2, 2-person pods (or 1, 4 person) and 2 large package (4 small package) pods. 

The self driving cars would be less varied since the pods take up some of the variation. 

With self driving cars and pods, parking lots would shrink. Roads would be less congested for a given road/population ratio. Studies have shown that even a small percentage of self driving cars mixed with regular cars significantly increases a road's throughput.

People being intricately responsible for second by second management of a vehicle is not efficient. But I don't want us to loose any freedoms in the transition. We can do this with some planning.

I am a little cautious about the idea of drone delivery. What if they are noisy, expensive per mile, block scenic views and look over our walls? Maybe it is better to use the self driving car to get my latest gadget from Amazon?

Because pods are isolated from each other, even in the same car, they would be safer for kids traveling alone. Maybe soccer moms would become just moms.

Once a critical mass is reached, some parts of the city might become self-drive only. Intersections would become automated and much faster to transition (with cars intersecting without stopping in most cases). 

As the vehicles became more expensive (justified by more utilization) they could move at higher speeds more efficiently. Speeds between neighborhoods would go from 45 mph to over 100 mph. Even on a residential street speed could be increased because the cars are much more reactive to changes in the environment. They would also be quieter, not just because there are less of them or that they are electric but because there would be increased financial incentives to make the cars more efficient per mile which reduces resistance which often is apparent as noise, tire wear, etc.

A lot of the costs we pay for in a residence is what's called "last mile" expenses. What we need is a better way for that energy to make the transition. Self driving cars could reduce last mile expenses for digital content, consumables, utilities, etc.

One of the things that revolutionized shipping was the shipping container. Almost overnight it cut costs dramatically. Pods!

I think the protocols that define this type of transport could be made in such a way that actually increase a citizen's privacy and freedom while reducing costs. 

--

Like I said, freedom is a big deal when offering people an alternative to driving. Just saying we are doing this because it is cheaper is not good enough. That can't be the main reason.

There are 2 kinds of freedom to driving your own car. The freedom in how we respond to traffic and road conditions and the freedom choosing our destination. 

Self driving cars tend to concentrate liability. Now the first freedom is given to a big company in exchange for safety. But merely "exchanging freedom for safety" should raise all kinds of warning flags. Only if it is a good deal should we accept it. And just because we give them that freedom they and we should not assume we gave them the other freedom as well. the freedom to chose our destination. And to make sure we truly have the freedom to chose a destination our privacy must remain intact.

As inventors, we have a responsibility to think about the effect our idea will have on our neighbors. A good test is if this a new gadget actually increases freedom.

The test for self driving cars will be if a person can hail one, transit and reach their destination and their freedoms were just as secure (or even better) as with the method it replaced. Otherwise we are allowing the industrial revolution to steal our souls in exchange for cheaper goods. 

Safety and cheaper is not freedom. Safety and cheaper can lead to more freedom but it is not good for our humanity to trade freedom for either safety or cheaper. We do have a choice. Much of our ability to create and to imagine is most noble when employed in service of freedom.

-

I believe a responsible creative person, if they can truly contribute to a field, should find the field where the greatest need for responsibility is found. Just because a field (like general AI) might appear to be the doom of us all doesn't mean responsible people should avoid it. Otherwise our doom is more assured!

Many market revolutions looked a lot scarier before than after. Many times they even helped humanity. Often because we just don't know how a thing will ultimately turn out and often because good people did something. 

We can find big examples of this but miss all the everyday examples. The bottom line, we shouldn't abdicate where we think there might be monsters.

--
8/3/15 

A friend told me about the AMA over on reddit with Stephen Hawking on the risks of AI. My entry:


Professor Hawking,

What are the physics of love?

Sorry. If I may explain what some may think is a silly question and why it is THE question when it comes to ASI...

As you have mentioned in one your commentaries,

"If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."

You recently put your support behind a $100 million initiative to find proof of intelligent life in the cosmos. I noticed that apparently the plan does not call for transmitting or trying to contact such life but to simply find them. I suspect to find them first so we can have more options than the Native Americans had. :)

There are similarities to us "discovering" advanced intelligence on our own planet in the form of ASI. This is a more likely meeting than we may have with aliens. And not only more likely but more likely to be competitive since we will share the same home. The risk of being the unfortunate natives meeting ASI are worth taking a look at and I appreciate you raising awareness on this topic.

So how do we make a "safe" god?

Limits on behavior don't work. To quote the amazing Jeff Goldblum on Jurassic Park:

"John, the kind of control you're attempting is not possible. If there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free. It expands to new territories. It crashes through barriers painfully, maybe even dangerously, but - well, there it is."

Limits on growth are also not very effective because there will always be competitive forces either financial or political to make a system just a little bit more volatile.

Melding with the system (as Kurzweil and others have suggested) doesn't work either. If we want to remain human that is. It's like evolving an ant to our level. That ant won't have any desire to be small anymore or return to its nest or hang out with its old buddies. Assimilation worked great for the Native Americans. At least the ones that were ok with losing their language, their culture, etc. Eventually nothing remains of the original people.

The effect of ASI could be to kill us slowly through assimilation or quickly through war.

Let's look at the gods in our mythology. Hmm. That's not very good either. Most of the gods we imagined were petty and selfish. How will these new gods be any better? They had a bad day not because they cared about our simple concerns or could relate. It was usually because they were fighting between themselves. And just as we do with the ant, why would they want to relate to us beyond a passing curiosity? It's good to be god. An exception in Greek mythology was Prometheus. And why was he an exception?

So what are the physics of love? Physicists are sometimes teased for having a physics solution to everyone else's questions. Seriously though. I want to know because I want us to have our cake and not be eaten by it. So how about this one? Not asking about "like" which is about procreation. Asking about real sacrificial Love. And when a logical framework of love is found, then we can make a machine that we can survive our tampering with it. And such a machine might help us with our meeting an advanced ET as well.

What are the physics of Love?

--

After I sent it I remembered that he said recently "that philosophy is dead". That's a bummer...

Some logic is out of the reach of science (Gödel's incompleteness theorems). I think love can be logical but not entirely scientific. So if love is important to designing these machines so they are both high performing but relatively safe then we are going to need more than just science.

--

Saturday 8/22/15 AM

NASA (links below) is funding a company working on a multi-week hibernation method that might possibly be used on the Mars mission. This could significantly reduce the size of the crew module. I think this the coolest :) news article I have read all week. Hyburrrrnation :). I believe this is one of the key enabling technologies for sending people to Mars, Europa, etc.

Putting a pound of cargo into earth orbit currently costs about $10k. Mars is a lot more expensive because of the rocketry equivalent of compound interest. For the Mars mission it is calculated we will need 63 units of fuel per unit of cargo on Mars surface. This is huge. And for a given technology, the ratio gets worse as you add more cargo. This is why nuclear power and a one way trip is being considered. 

SpaceWorks estimates they can reduce total habitat volume by a factor of 10 by using 2 week torpor. 2-week torpor has already been demonstrated by the Chinese (see CNN article below). So yes. An important technology to making the Mars mission practical. 

Torpor is not quite hibernation like the animals do it. As I understand it, it is between a medically induced coma ("twilight") and full hibernation. Some of the effect that comes from sedatives is instead done with decreased body temperature. The person awakes tired and this lack of restfulness will probably limit the length of time that torpor can be used. Still very useful.

I imagine as the technology is improved however, we will find a way to make this stasis more restful. More similar to animal hibernation.

On long voyages, each member would wake for a few hours every once in a while to eat, use the bathroom, etc and then go back to sleep like bears do. Or machines could reduce the number of wake ups by removing waste, feeding intravenously, etc. Using occasional wake ups and making the sleeps actually restful could be done for 6 months to maybe even a year.

It is not unusual in the animal kingdom for an animal to be in some sort of sleep for 3/4 of its life span. Cats sleep 15-20 hrs a day. Bears in Alaska hibernate for 7 months and then sleep normally during the remaining 5 months, which works out to roughly the same amount of time asleep as a cat. This 3/4 may be a biological limit like the sound barrier was for fluids. Moving beyond that limit may require a different energy coupling.

Even on the surface of Mars, I imagine that hibernation would continue to be used since not every mission specialist would be as busy during the entire surface mission. It is all about energy management of each sub mission. The mission on the surface would be divided into numerous sub missions, each with an energy budget, etc. As data came in from earlier missions, later missions would be refined to maximize total mission efficiency.

Overtime it may be possible to even hibernate the body while the brain is fully awake, allowing VR interaction, communications, system supervision, etc. This would increase the energy envelope for complex missions.

All we need is even a somewhat plausible study showing that hibernation reduces wear on the human body and people will start to use it to "live" longer. I can see people "living" out to 140 years or more. They would schedule their calendar to concentrate decision periods. I can imagine what it would be like trying to schedule time with such a person. Maybe a sub culture would sync their wake periods for shared activities. Vampires :)

It is not uncommon for companies to begin to die when their founders pass away. By using hibernation such companies could compete longer. However, as the information age matures, there is pressure on company life cycles to shorten so maybe it all balances out.

Link to NASA article.

Link to CNN article which provides more details on the overall concept.

Fuel calculations.

--

Good Friday 3/25/16 PM

Thank you Jesus for your work done for us.


The Singularity. This is the idea that once computers are as smart as humans the rate of technological progress will dramatically increase so quickly that it is hard to predict what our society will look like. 

The term is borrowed from the idea of the event horizon of a black hole that prevents us from seeing inside of a black hole.

I do believe AGI is coming soon but I don't think it will cause a singularity. I agree with others that what may look like an exponential curve is just a momentary change of rate before resuming to a rate similar to the pre-advance rate. Just as with other tools.

AGI may appear from our perspective to someday lead to an insane increase in the rate of progress but imagine the smartphone in Roman times. If such a technology suddenly appeared it would have enabled rapid progress in medicine, technology, etc. But today not as much since the low hanging fruit has been picked. Such leaps usually don't occur in a vacuum. The level of tech needed for AGI floats all boats. This also means the problems left for the AGI to solve are harder problems. 

The problems we solve tomorrow will not be as easy as the problems we solved yesterday. It is hard to understand what we do not know.

In a way, once we have the technology to make AGI, we need the tools created by such technology (such as AGI) to continue to continue our rate of progress. In fact, I am more convinced that fear of some tool will slow our progress more than such a tool can increase our progress. I think this new tool will be pretty cool and I want to be part of this revolution.

However, some people are speculating that the singularity will lead to large numbers of people not working and as a result they suggest we should revert back to some sort of socialism, peasantry, etc. Or they think this will lead to our rapid evolution into some sort of new transcendence. Or once again, they worry it will lead to our destruction by way of some new technology.

Maybe for them, this is acting as a singularity...

But I am hoping for something like what happened during the 70's with the advent of the microprocessor. This democratized the technology (vs mainframes clouds), putting it in the hands of people with beards and garages who built all kinds of new companies.

If you told someone in the 60's about the coming microcomputers and its effect on automation they would have maybe worried about widespread unemployment. They could not imagine new jobs like web development, social media marketing, 3D printing, much higher demand for programmers, etc. 

This is happening again with AI. It will be democratized. People will figure out all kinds of new ways to use it. New job titles will be created. Companies formed. Fortunes shifted. 

An odd side effect to all this speculation about the Singularity is for some who claim to be enlightened with reason and have no use for religion it has become a religion complete with a death, heaven and an all knowing creator. 

For more along these lines and said in a better way, I recommend reading Jaron Lanier's books.

--

Tuesday 11/8/16 AM

Elon Musk advocates democratizing AI. However, the other day he also made some statements in support of "basic income". I think history shows the first thing is good, the second thing, not so good. We don't need serfdom. 


I did a quick ngram search on Google books for "basic income" and "social dividend". There does seem to be a correlation between their use in popular writing and events like stock market crashes, etc. Some tools (like the computer in the 70's) are strong enough to produce a large concentration of power but once they are democratized (~1975), people felt more empowered. This also seems to show up in the graphs. 

Google books ngrams "basic income"

Google books ngrams "social dividend"

(According to Wikipedia, "social dividend" is a synonym of "basic income" used more commonly before 1987)

The temptation is to have AGI go the whole capital concentration/mainframe/cloud direction. This will hurt jobs, the middle class, etc. but democratizing the tool like the personal computer did is what makes jobs and even more wealth for everyone.

--

9/26/17 AM posted to Facebook (uggh)

I have a problem with the people kneeling during the anthem. And I can say this apart from the various issues that are being protested. For whatever is being protested, to resolve it, we will need to work together. We will need to engage in profitable discourse. Please let me explain why pulling the anthem down is a poor choice if you want true progress. That it is ironic and shallow.

In order for us to have true diversity of thought we need some sort of framework that makes peaceful discourse possible. Otherwise it is just about power and conquest.

When I see people standing together with their hands on their hearts singing the anthem I see people who are united on the basics of freedom. This does not mean they are united in everything else. Certainly not. But without that basic freedom, a… costly…. freedom, those other issues will be only settled by force.

Should we compare our democracy to the alternatives? The standard for so many cultures is to use conquest to resolve disputes. We have been given a gift. An alternative to this tired narrative in history. The ability for peaceful discourse in an environment of basic freedoms. That fact that these freedoms were so costly speaks to their rarity.

I think some of the less history-minded of us forget how rare this culture is. They might think it has always been here. That it came easy. That there exist many other cultures that are equal to it in freedom. Or that some imagined utopian vision can replace it.

Our culture has a beautiful balance that some do not appreciate. We may demand even more freedoms not realizing that if we continue along such a path we risk totalitarianism. Micromanaging our differences. Silencing discourse. A monoculture of pervasive and invasive ideology.

The generations that fought for our freedoms are different. Sacrificing themselves for freedom. Not murdering and silencing others in order to achieve some utopia. They signed a document enshrining those freedoms knowing that they themselves would probably be called to give their own lives (and most did). Freedom is messy. It is costly. Each generation is called to sacrifice. Otherwise we will not appreciate this balance. This gift.

Whatever the thing is that you are protesting. Don’t twist it with the very idea, the balance that gives us the freedoms to actually work together towards a solution. Otherwise we are truly undone. This is the irony in the protests.

I realize that these protests will die down in a month or two. It is the rage of the month. But recognize and resist each attack on our fundamental union. The basic principles that unite us. How insulting it is to our union to elevate these issues above our very union. We could have discussed these issues but you had to attack our culture. That is where I draw the line.

-

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

--

An older idea just now posting here... Probably should give it it's own page.

 

Virtual Electricity

 I originally wrote about this idea in the “misc ideas.docx” file.

Increase in what Jaron Lanier calls “software mediated” tasks. More and more products have a software component or were software designed/managed.

Software can make things physically smaller, simpler and use less power. So overall, efficiency goes up.

As a result of all this, software is a large and growing part of total electricity consumption.

How is electricity used in the US?

About 1/3 of all electricity is used in the home.

From http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/how-do-we-use-electricity

“Other” includes gadgets and appliances not specified otherwise.

The use of electricity for gadgets has been growing sharply and this seems to support the idea of increasing software mediated tasks.

When calculating what percentage of power goes to computers, we should remove the power that goes to non-computing tasks from the total because computer usage could come out of the extra electricity generated by the home.

Important factors therefore are the rising in computing based consumption, the coming availability of wasted/discounted electricity from rooftop solar and the increasing losses when power is transmitted long distances.

How much is used in just data centers?

From http://www.computerworld.com/article/2598562/data-center/data-centers-are-the-new-polluters.html

I read somewhere (link?) that the average home computer is only being used about 5% of the time. Data center computers are used about 50% of the time (mostly to improve responsiveness (less latency)). Home computers are more responsive at high loads (>50%) than a distant data center at a lower load because of distance and number of switches between user and process.

4/27/16 AM

The latency between a user in their home and their home computer is <1ms. The latency between a user in their home and the cloud is typically >20ms. http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/colo-cloud-/cracking-latency-in-the-cloud/75452.fullarticle (I observed ~100ms to ping yahoo, ~25ms to ping google, add application delay to that). Reducing latency by reducing long haul requirements allows computing hardware to be used at higher loads, reducing capital costs.

Modern electrical grid loses an average of 6% due to transmission losses. https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=105&t=3 Generating plants are also less efficient than ideal because of idle capacity required to deal with instantaneous demand. Transmission losses make up a larger part of nighttime production due to reduced demand.

Part of the problem with electrical production is consumption is volatile. Add to this that many renewable sources are also volatile (solar peaks during day, wind varies throughout the day, etc). This makes it difficult to match generation with consumption, increasing losses.

Reducing the length between generation and consumption by using home computing allows losses to be traded for discounts. Instead of the price being more stable and excess electricity being lost to inefficiency, a shorter loop allows a faster response, which allows excess electricity to find discount markets. Discounts are important to any market because they reduce restraints, allowing new products and customers to trade. Inefficiency tends to reduce the size of markets.

Discounts also offset the need for electricity storage by encouraging some users to shift their demand. What storage there is on the network is attached to systems that already need storage for other reasons (electric vehicles, off grid solar, etc). So the system both adds new storage and reduces the demand for it, lowering the distribution costs further.

Reducing transmission losses allows electricity to be sold further away, increasing the size of the market. This more than offsets the fact that the digital market is a subset (but growing subset) of the full electrical market.

 

True cost of cloud computing. The costs can be calculated by the amount of advertising dollars spent per user for services like Facebook (estimated >$250/year), etc. This amounts to hundreds of dollars per person, per year. If these computing tasks were moved to the home and the network was used primarily for communication, those costs would transfer to the user.

Network is used for communication, storage and computing.

Hard to move people off the cloud because of “free”. But if we somehow (see my AI OS proposal) incentivize users/providers to a micropayment system (improve ad blocking, micropayment software), then the costs will be more visible.

Hard to predict the future. The future is over the horizon, making it difficult to predict. We didn’t know in the 50’s that there would be jobs like “web developer” just 30 years later. Hard to understand the effect of new tools, etc. But there are trends that we can more reliably use for prediction such as the increase in software mediated tasks, the importance of democratizing technology, computing power is equivalent to land ownership, etc.

Job creation by encouraging land ownership. Computing power is land ownership in a world that is increasingly software mediated. New jobs created in the 70’s when the computer was democratized. Made available to people with beards and garages. Intel’s recent layoff of 11k people is a result of the cloud. Less demand for individual computing, more demand for devices that have enough power to connect to the cloud.

Although smart phone usage is going up (people are more likely to have a smartphone than indoor plumbing) and this is increasing individual computing power, the increasing in computing power at the cloud is rising even faster, which means the overall trend is for people to have less of the total computing power in the world.

The rise of the self-driving car. Fractional ownership in a car is enough for what used to require the second most expensive purchase for the average person (after their house). I believe home based computing should become the new mobility for the masses. A home based computing appliance that costs as much as a car used to and just as important as a car.

It is important that people (and therefore governments) understand that the need for privacy makes land ownership desirable. Incentives to land ownership strengthen the middle class, which offsets the power of the rich in politics, etc.

Digital land is like home ownership. A personal space where we can rest and recharge. Lanier talks about how we need a personal bubble where we can try out ideas, be ourselves, prepare the message we want to share with others, etc. Technology can be very personal and when that technology is not private, our personal space is eroded.

Maybe this is why we can talk to others, but not read their minds. No ESP. By giving us a private space, our Creator blessed us with a safe place of our own. Prisoners and repressed people have talked about how “they can control our speech but they can’t control our thoughts”, etc. Technology has the ability to compute our habits and therefore predict our actions, in effect getting inside of our heads. Predicting things before we not just say them, but think them.

The movie, “minority report” was prescient in how it explores the idea how technology can get inside of our heads to the point that it knows what we are going to do before we do. As we wear more technology and give it more information about ourselves combined with technology’s ability to carefully study our habits, it can predict our behavior with uncanny accuracy (even now in these early stages).

The TV show “black mirror” explored the idea of a person being recreated after their death based on their online activities.

This insight into people’s behaviors, made possible by siren servers and a loss of privacy can be used to herd people in certain directions using means that are otherwise legal and seem unrelated to the final destination. A real life “butterfly effect”. Changing the price of a new phone in one country affecting the elections in another country.

Neural networks combined with big data has mostly produced mush but it occasionally (even at these early stages) has produce some surprising results that show the large effect that seemingly unrelated phenomena can have on the overall population. Weather forecasting.

We should protect our biometrics, because it is difficult to get new ones if they are compromised. We should protect our privacy, because losing that is a loss of our free will.  

Our online preferences are predictable but also unique. If we lose privacy in our online interactions, we become more predictable and therefore more likely to be influenced, which is a loss of free will. We also could lose our ability to be uniquely identified, requiring other means (mark of the beast?).

I think most people don’t care about privacy for some of the same reasons they think the lottery is worth it (or texting while driving, etc). We struggle in understanding large systems. We think we are not interesting to large corporations because we are boring or normal. But large corporations are using meta data to circumvent our free will. Convincing young people that they are not smart enough, beautiful enough, popular, etc. using fear to herd us down profitable chutes.

I know privacy is important but I struggle with explaining this to people. The pros and cons of the “network effect” that Lanier talks about.

Recommendation of videos to watch, search results on the first page, etc should not be determined by some corporation because that corporation can use this to influence you. Instead, any recommendations should be done by a trusted agent (your AI personalities). Better still, is structuring data and services so recommendations are only used when the alternative is to impractical.

4 types of security. A secret, a possession, complexity and our biometrics.

With the rise of more efficient software (AGI), less information is lost. This means privacy becomes even more important. So AGI should be released to the public and should have safeguards for privacy.

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2/15/2017 PM

Part of the video log this afternoon talks about this.

Virtual electricity. Swap electric bills per kw. Other types of commodity producers. Like water filtration. Need to be able to transport whatever the electricity is converted into easily. Computing cycles is an excellent example. Other possibilities. Charges in self driving electric vehicle.

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Neighborhood grid

Sunday 6/18/17 AM

 Nearby houses could be connected by a high voltage underground line (240v used by appliance or ~2kv used by electric cars/charger). These lines would allow neighbors to form an electricity cooperative. Buying and selling electricity. This would improve the efficiency of storage and generation. It would also help pay for expansion of production. Increase operating envelope (high energy usage, more grid computing, more cloudy days). Positives of working together.

 This neighborhood grid would be owned by the HOA (eek) or better, some sort of coop. It would only be short range and not use transformers. Switching power supplies would up/down convert. It would be all DC?

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7/2/17 PM

 California is paying Arizona to take excess electricity:

http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-electricity-solar/

 They are also both cutting solar/wind production during excess power periods rather than cutting baseline production which takes longer to throttle. The effect is that during period when alternative energy is doing quite well, it is reduced.

 This is a tricky thing.

 What virtual electricity does is effectively allow longer transmission lines. Power can be moved from an area of plenty to an area of scarcity.

 Adding new customers that are only needed for a short period of time in the winter months is not sufficient. Or adding batteries that are only used occasionally may not be cost effective either.

 Computing loads are distributed geographically to reduce latency and provide high accessibility. Concentrating them around cheap power could increase latency. What is needed is a high amount of latency insensitive computing. Maybe AGI will make this type of computing more common?

 --

 

Placing the CPU at the wind turbine, solar panel can reduce conversion losses. The CPU would use a more efficient step-down converter instead of a step-up inverter. Heat would be higher but the system is in the shade of the panel. Important to keep the heat balanced between the panel and the cpu so they don’t overheat each other.

 

The operating system would keep a que of tasks that would be processed as power comes in. This would adjust the load to the panel production, maximizing the efficiency. CPU power regulation instead of converter power regulation. This means the converter could operate at a constant optimized frequency, maximizing coupling efficiency. As the panel voltage changed, the CPU load would change, changing the low side voltage without the need for voltage regulation.

 

The CPU and converter would be mounted next to a micro inverter for powering the house. It would talk to the digital grid in the house to manage loads.

 

A typical panel output is 30V. A step-up is less efficient than a step-down. But connecting more panels together eats up the boost in efficiency due to wiring losses, shading and panel variations.

 

One way to have your cake and eat it too is to use the nearby CPU converter to send DC voltage into the house on the USB-C bus (see my notes on this in the misc doc). There would be some gains since the voltage is step down instead of step-up (3-6% more efficient) and there is not as much step down required at the gadget (1%?) but some losses because of voltage drop (although if you can keep the current low for the conductors, this will be less than 2-3%. So, overall more efficient if you include a low voltage DC buss alongside the high voltage AC buss.

 

Instead of sending excess power to the external grid, which is less efficient, it would be used right at the panel for CPU cycles.

 

The DC buss should operate at 48v if possible to reduce wiring losses and/or allow smaller conductors (mostly at the gadget). This would require panels that are optimized for ~48v (cells are factory sorted for maximum coupling). The converter would not change the voltage onto the buss unless that is required for MPPT (maximum power point tracking). Then each device would regulate down to what they need as normally happens on the USB bus. It is possible that gadgets could also optimize for a given conversion ratio and vary their load to track the panel voltage as with the CPU above. Gadgets might have a sweet spot that allows them to regulate from by regulating their load.

 

Higher voltages would be sent to the house for heavy loads such as climate control, vehicle charging, cooking, water heater, pumping, etc. This could also be DC instead of AC so that no AC is used in the house. For example, 1kv DC to the house. Each panel would have a 1kv DC-DC inverter. Advantages would be lower losses, smaller motors, less EM noise, etc.

 

Safety would be improved since most outlets, cords and devices would be at low voltage. Whereas the higher voltage buss would require special outlets for more controlled connections to fixed appliances.

 

A house battery could be charged in either series or parallel, whichever is more efficient for the battery (see my notes on integrated battery regulation).

 

With a high voltage DC bus, the panels would be in series with power optimizers on each. These optimizers, as far as I can tell, step the voltage down enough to give them some wiggle room for MPPT. The output is then connected in series to produce the high voltage. This system would be more efficient since it would have less wiring losses (including the load), not require conversion to AC and not require additional step down to a lower voltage (typical solar inverter is 600VDC > 240VAC).

One way to do this for say a 20-panel system: 60 volts per panel. Each panel has an electronic module. The module would include a CPU and step-down converter. Connections would be for the high voltage buss (series), the low voltage buss (parallel), USB-C digital lines and/or Ethernet. With say 10-12v step down for MPPT, the system would produce 1000VDC and 48VDC for the 2 busses.

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9/16/17 PM

Pirate bay, showtime, etc. have begun to mine crypto currencies in the browser as an alternative to advertising. consumer education about this needs to improve. It is similar to my idea of virtual electricity but doesn't go as far as it could.

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email response to a friend who was questioning some of the flat earth claims (maybe shouldn't be surprised this is as popular as it is now, see my notes on weak faith)


1/11/2017

OK, wanted to make sure. J Lot of material out there…

It seems that most people learn about flat/dome earth from videos on youtube. So I watched several of those to get a list of FE claims. Then googled each of those and read a bunch of for/against perspectives on each. I have spent multiple days on this…

Some I have watched:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8-YdgU-CF4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B3VDKi1BEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RIBO7VB0VE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDKc6X8TXNE

 

What claims do they make?

 

-Our Earth is flat, not a sphere

-Earth is covered in a dome (not all FE adherents make this claim)

-That the dome was constructed (not a major point?)

-That gravity does not work like Newton or Einstein says it does or simply doesn’t exist. Things fall because they are heavy

-The edge of the earth is “south” (in every direction). This is where Antarctica is.

-Antarctica is off limits to prevent people from seeing the edge of the earth

-That images of earth from “space” are mostly computer generated

-Russia and USA detonated nuclear warheads in upper atmosphere in an (implied) attempt to penetrate dome

The videos use persuasion techniques to try to sway the viewer:

 

-          Encourage doubt in authorities like government agencies, space programs, big companies even white men (one video I saw)

-          Appearing like they are just trying to help people see the truth even though they are being persecuted by so called scientists, trolls, etc.

-          Selectively appeal to some authorities like the Bible and government agencies when their findings seem to agree with the FE doctrine

Another way (a pretty good IMHO) is to give examples that can be verified by the viewer:

 

-          Distances traveled by airplanes

-          Aircraft Gyroscope action on long flights

-          Water is always level and would not curve around a sphere

-          And many more…

Several videos do encourage people to go and research this themselves. I agree. Not sure how many people actually do however. Some may simple watch the video and become convinced. The Bible gives examples of how to think critically such as “testing the spirits”, “the Bereans searched the scriptures”, etc.

Whew! There are a lot of claims and examples to go through. As a challenge to myself, I have to preferred evidence that can be personally verified and doesn’t require trust in NASA for example. I like NASA but I saw it as a good challenge to my research. I think is good for anybody to practice. How to research claims, think critically, etc. This has sparked some conversations with the kids lately even.  

 

So.. Here’s how far I have gotten so far:

 

Bedford Level Experiment

Claim: this experiment proves that the earth is flat. If the earth was a globe, we should see 8” of drop per mile yet this did not show up in the experiment.

The original experiment was conducted 8 inches above the surface of the water. However, if you perform the same experiment at say 14 feet above the water, the drop per mile expected starts to work. Are there other possible explanations?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_Level_experiment

A lot of the long zoom videos I found varied the height above the water to produce different effects.

Movement of stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RIBO7VB0VE

Claim: The stars are moving, not the earth. For example, when we look at the night sky. Find Polaris. Long exposure photographs easily show circular star paths around the Polaris (the north star). Scientists however, say the earth is also moving through the galaxy at an even faster rate than our supposed rotation. But the star paths are these nice circles. Shouldn’t the star paths be like cork screws or something? This would make more sense if the earth was stationary and only the stars moved (all except Polaris that is).

Why does a relatively slow rotation of the earth cause such a large apparent change in the stars but a rapid movement of the earth through the solar system, galaxy, etc. not cause much apparent change. This has to do with angles and very large distances.

And what about Polaris. Why is it stationary but the other stars seem to move?

Also, why do the rotations reverse below the equator? Google star trails by hemisphere. https://youtu.be/sUsGBcWeiVQ

 

Aircraft Gyroscope action on long flights

Claim: A gyro maintains its orientation regardless of any “gravity” effects and therefore if a plane was flying over a curved earth, the plane would have to constantly point down a slight angle to maintain the same altitude. This downward angle would show up in the attitude indicator instrument (which uses a gyroscope) and, over time, would get increasingly more evident. For example, flying from the north to the south pole, the indicator would eventually show the plane is now flying upside down.

As with any claim, you got to do the research. Read what various people (for and against) are saying. Some places I looked at:

https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/my-gyroscope-says-the-world-is-flat.90561/

A big problem with gyros is precession. This can be verified yourself with a $5 toy gyro. Spin it up, force it to pitch (it will fight but you are stronger) and you will notice a precession at a right angle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty9QSiVC2g0

Love those veritasium videos…

Precession and drag cause gyros to drift. Simply put, the gyro is unable to fight every force applied to it and friction is constantly trying to slow the gyro down (which causes torque on its frame). Even though they spin at 10k RPM or so, they will drift. So this has to be corrected constantly in an aircraft attitude indicator. Modern gyros do this with GPS data. But older gyros assumed you spent most of your time flying level (otherwise something like “unscheduled ground incursion” J would occur). They would then use a counterweight that responds to gravity. Yes gravity. To slowly right the gyro to what is (usually) the horizon. A typical correction rate was 1 degree every 3-5 minutes

http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/16376/how-are-attitude-indicators-kept-accurate

So this means if you flew on your side for 4.5 hours (90 degrees x 3 min = 270 minutes), the old style Attitude Indicator would eventually say you were flying level. Eek! This is actually hard to do (fuel limits, big planes don’t fly on their side very well) but it happens. I suspect the correction rate was a tradeoff designed to take into account average flying behaviors.

Check out the section on errors in the following article. Note that over time, the gyro will tend to stabilize using gravity.  A perfect gyro (if such a thing existed), would not need this.

http://www.pilotfriend.com/training/flight_training/fxd_wing/attitude.htm

 

The claim that a gyro on a long flight over a round earth would then indicate you were not level (or even upside down as in the example above) assumes the existence of a perfect gyroscope that doesn’t drift. Those do not exist because of things like friction and precession. Such a perfect gyro would not need to be corrected and it would indeed show you as flying upside down eventually.

 

Distances traveled by Aircraft on a map

 

Claim: distances in the south of the equator are much larger than what the globe model indicates. Commercial flights try to hide this detail by using intermediate destinations.

Mentioned in the following videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8-YdgU-CF4

Part of the problem in evaluating this claim is the difficulty in finding accurate flat earth maps. Maps with distance scales, etc. if you know of one, let me know. The fact there are connecting flights on some routes doesn’t have to mean distance is being hidden, conspiracy, etc. Could mean there are some locations that don’t get much traffic. Ideal winds. Local agreements for fuel, etc. that are attractive. Etc.

This is a video of a former FE adherent that has since deleted his videos after he researched for himself the distance claims of these long flights:

https://youtu.be/yjU3u54ihXM

But that is someone else. Our own research is the final test.

Misc:

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-the-flat-earth-theory-14-ways-the-flat-earth-theory-is-false.t7148/

I can continue if you want. Is there something you are particularly interested in I could focus on? 

 

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